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Chronic Bronchitis

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Bronchitis facts

  • Bronchitis is a term that describes inflammation of the bronchial tubes (bronchi and the smaller branches termed bronchioles) that results in excessive secretions of mucus into the tubes with tissue swelling that may narrow or close off bronchial tubes.
  • Chronic bronchitis is defined as a cough that occurs every day with sputum production that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row.
  • The major cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking; other causes are bronchial irritants, usually inhaled repeatedly by the affected person.
  • Ideally, people should seek medical care before chronic bronchitis develops. People should seek care for tobacco addiction and the occasional chronic cough (less than daily for 3 months) to potentially avoid developing chronic bronchitis. Those with chronic bronchitis should seek care for severe dyspnea, cyanosis, and fever immediately.
  • Clinical history and physical exams help diagnose chronic bronchitis, while other tests such as chest X-rays, pulmonary function tests, and CT imaging studies may also be used.
  • Treatment of most people with chronic bronchitis is to quit cigarette smoking and avoid air-borne bronchial irritants; medical treatments include bronchodilators, steroids, and oxygen therapy.
  • The major complications of chronic bronchitis are severe shortness of breath, COPD, respiratory failure, and an increased mortality rate.
  • Risk factors for chronic bronchitis include smoking, exposure to airborne chemicals and secondhand smoke, dust, and other bronchial irritants.
  • A majority of cases of chronic bronchitis can be prevented by not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke. Avoidance of air-borne bronchial irritants, vaccinations, and asthma prevention may help prevent bouts of chronic bronchitis.
  • Although the disease is chronic and progressive, patients that are diagnosed early before much bronchial damage occurs and who stop smoking (or avoid airborne dust, chemicals or other situations that lead to bronchial irritation) often have a good prognosis for many years.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/26/2013

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Chronic Bronchitis - Treatments Question: What were effective treatments for your chronic bronchitis?
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Acute Bronchitis - Symptoms Question: If you've been diagnosed with acute bronchitis, what were your signs and symptoms?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/chronic_bronchitis/article.htm

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